- What Is A Water Pump?
- How Does Water Pump Work?
- Is It Possible To Drive A Vehicle With A Bad Water Pump?
- How Far Can You Drive A Car With A Bad Water Pump?
Even though it is okay to drive with a bad water pump, it is very risky. On the contrary, you cannot drive with a damaged water pump for over a long distance. Additionally, depending on the extent of the water pump’s damage, you may not drive the car at all.
In this post, we’ll expound on whether you can drive a vehicle with a bad water pump or not. Also, we’ll let you know how far you can go with a bad water pump. Other points that we will discuss are how a water pump works.
What Is A Water Pump?
A water pump is a vital part of the car. This component controls the flow of the coolant around the engine to maintain the specified range of temperature.
It makes sure that the coolant passes through the engine block, radiator, and hoses and maintains an optimal operating temperature. If the water pump is damaged, all of these parts will be vulnerable.
How Does Water Pump Work?
A car water pump functions by taking in water from the radiator and moving it via the motor and back to the radiator. It ensures that your engine stays at a constant temperature, regardless of the weather condition. The water from the radiator always heats up as it makes its way via the motor.
Thus, if a water pump is damaged, several parts of your car engine will be affected.
Is It Possible To Drive A Vehicle With A Bad Water Pump?
Of course, you can drive a vehicle with a bad water pump. However, you cannot drive the car for long as it will cause more problems and lead to costly repairs. You can start the vehicle, drive to the closest mechanic or auto repair shop, and have the water pump fixed.
If you keep driving a car with a bad water pump for long, it might overheat and cause complete damage to your vehicle’s engine. And this is the last thing you want to happen to you. For this reason, it is not advisable to drive a car with a bad water pump.
But if it’s to a mechanic or repair shop, then you can do so as long as it’s not far away.
A bad water pump can make the car overheat, which may end up affecting the engine and make it stop working. As you already know, repairing a damaged engine is costly. Typically, you may have to replace it with a new one or acquire a fairly used engine from another vehicle.
A vehicle with a damaged water pump can start like any other vehicle and move, but it cannot go far. Since the water pump is damaged, you may notice engine misfiring and other challenges connected to a bad water pump.
In short, you can drive a vehicle with a bad water pump. The car will move, but if you fail to repair the pump in time, the engine will completely stall.
How Far Can You Drive A Car With A Bad Water Pump?
First and foremost, it is not advisable to drive a vehicle with a bad water pump. But if you realize that your water pump is damaged and causing all sorts of problems, you should drive the car to the nearest mechanic or auto repair shop.
Some of the things that determine how far you can drive your vehicle are the timing belt, coolant, and engine temperature. If your vehicle’s timing belt fails, or the coolant starts leaking, or the engine begins to overheat, you should no longer drive the car.
Not only will you be risking further damage to the car, but as well as endangering your life. Below are determinants of how far you can drive a car with a bad water pump:
Type of vehicle
Overall, the distance a car with a bad water pump can cover depends on the vehicle’s condition and type. Most of the old car makes and models manufactured before the 2000s can cover a great distance.
But the latest car models with an air-cooled engine may not cover several miles before stopping. For instance, an old Volkswagen or Porsche car will cover a greater distance than the latest cars from the same make and model.
Other determinants are ambient air temperature, cooling effects of the immediate surroundings, and operating temperature of the engine. For instance, if the air temperature is below -40 degrees Celsius, and the engine is cooled by sufficient airflow while maintaining the highest gear to lowest engine turnover ratio, the car may cover a reasonable distance.
But if a vehicle with a damaged water pump is driven on hot days in the desert in a low gear and high revolutions, the car will not cover a great distance.
Distance covered without water and time frame
Depending on the extent of the damage, it is estimated that you can drive a vehicle with a damaged water pump for 5 to 20 miles. However, it will depend on the time of the day and terrain of the road. If it’s early in the morning, then you can even drive for 20 miles.
But if it’s in the afternoon when it’s hot, then you may cover less than 5 miles. The idea is to keep the engine cool and prevent it from overheating. You can make stops like after every 2 miles if you drive in the afternoon. This is equivalent to 10 minutes of driving.
What’s more, if you’re driving on a hilly road, you will put a lot of stress on the engine. Therefore, you will cover a shorter distance compared to driving on a slope or flat road. You will have to monitor the coolant temperature as you drive to avoid damaging the engine for good.
The coolant temperature shouldn’t go above 112 degrees Celsius unless you want costly repairs.
As far as the red light is off
Even though this seems unusual, you can also drive a car with a bad water pump as long as the red light is off. A red warning light hints that you should act faster because the problem is getting out of hand.
So, if you see this light on your vehicle’s dashboard, you should stop and allow the car to cool down. A red light means that the engine is overheating and almost getting out of hand. But if you’re in the middle of nowhere and still want to get to a car repair shop or mechanic, you can drive through it. All you’ve to do is allow the engine to cool and then proceed to drive.
However, some vehicles may have a water pump that is in a terrible state. Before you drive through it, you should inspect the water pump first as you may end up with costly repairs. On top of that, it may be for your own safety.
Most mechanic advice not to drive after the red light has come on. They prefer you to call a towing vehicle to take it from there. Unless you don’t have any other option, you shouldn’t drive when the red light comes on the dashboard.
Until the engine and cooling system are extremely hot
Another way to tell how far you can ride a car with a bad water pump is by monitoring its engine and cooling system. Make sure you inspect the engine and cooling system after a few miles. For example, after every 3 miles.
If the engine and cooling system become excessively hot, you should stop. You can either call a towing vehicle or wait for the engine to cool down before covering some more miles. This is also a tricky practice as it can end up damaging other parts of the coolant system. On top of that, you may end destroying the engine totally. This may be very costly.
All-in-all, driving a car with a bad water pump is a risk. So, you have to be ready just in case your engine isn’t able to hold up. If you’re afraid that the water pump is excessively damaged, then you’re better off hiring a towing vehicle.
Unless you want to end up with a blown head gasket, cracked cylinder head, and burnt pistons.
Even though you can drive a vehicle with a bad water pump, it is crucial to know what the problem is. Before you drive the car to a mechanic, note the signs that the bad water pump shows. Some water pump signs indicate that the damage is severe.
For instance, you shouldn’t drive if you notice steam coming out from the radiator or when the engine overheats. These signs show that the water pump is in a very bad state. If you drive through them, you may end up with more damage or even engine failure.
On the other hand, you can drive through signs like unusual sound or coolant leaks. However, it would be best if you did not drive as it is not safe. Overall, driving through a bad water pump is risky, and you should see a mechanic the moment you notice any of the signs.
James has been a car enthusiast since his childhood when he learned the differences between a ford and a chevy from his father. He loves to drive and restore old cars with a special drive for Italian marvels. Currently, he has a 1968 Alfa Romeo. He has studied aeronautics and civil aviation in his college and still gets smitten by Galant SS and Lancer GSR.
He is a New York-based product training director working with a giant automotive retailer. He loves to review and uncover the vehicles and their fascinating stories. He believes in keeping it legitimate with a keen passion for research on the latest technological upgrades in cars. While reading his articles or blogs, you can sense the extensive research and dedication backing the piece of text. He loves fried chicken, music, and spending quality time with his pet dog.